On the History channel’s American Pickers last week Mike and Frank uncovered what they thought was an early Airstream RV trailer in a barn in North Carolina. Covered in silvery plates, the bullet-shaped recreational vehicle was actually a Boles Aero all-aluminum camping trailer built in the mid-1940s. Sporting the most modern amenities of its day, the trailer featured a hand-pump over a tiny kitchen sink, birch-wood cabinets and a booth-styled table set. The episode was a reminder of just how far RVs have evolved in the last half century.

Today’s RV motorhomes and travel trailers offer all the amenities of home, including full kitchens, laundry facilities, onboard bathrooms, generous storage space and spacious slideouts. RV improvements today focus on increasing energy efficiency, improving convenience, decreasing weight, reducing fuel consumption and enhancing sustainability.

New trends in eco-friendly RV construction are attracting new RV buyers and RV owners ready to upgrade to newer RV models. Here are some of the hot, new, eco-friendly RV trends to watch for when you go RV shopping on RVT.com.

Probably the single greatest innovation in RV construction is the development of composite materials and new composite construction techniques. Eco-friendly composites have revolutionized RV construction.

  • All-composite, wood-free construction is light-weight for better fuel efficiency and easier towing, often by family sedans.
  • Impact-resistant composites are stronger and more durable than traditional RV construction materials, increasing your RV’s usable life and resale value.
  • Seamless composite construction is waterproof and won’t mildew, rust, dry rot or deteriorate from weather exposure.
  • Composite materials are healthier for your family, hypoallergenic and free of out-gassing VOCs.
  • Eco-friendly composite materials are completely recyclable and will never burden landfills.

Other energy-efficient RV features to watch for include:

  • On-demand, energy-efficient tankless water heaters provide unlimited hot water with 60% less propane.
  • Flush-frame, oversized, awning-style windows maximize aerodynamics while improving interior air flow and can remain open during rain.
  • Roof-mounted solar panels and wind turbines generate electricity to power RV appliances and systems.
  • Powerful fan/vent systems draw fresh air through RV units, decreasing air conditioning use.
  • Tinted windows and integrated day/night shades screen out sunlight, keeping RV interiors cool and pleasant.
  • Kitchen floors and cabinets made from sustainable bamboo conserve natural resources.
  • Energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting and low-flow fixtures can decrease energy consumption by 25% or more.
  • RV furniture made from light-weight aluminum and high-density foam is comfortable without adding to towing weight.